I don’t know what prompted Oates to turn this gruesome story into a novel, but I’m glad she did. It’s a wrenching page-turner that pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go until I finished. Oates is a masterful writer whose characters are fully drawn. Her dialogue is more than deft. There’s almost nobody to like in this story and yet it’s a compulsive read. That’s a tough feat for a writer to pull off.
The interesting take-away question for me is, who is the sacrifice alluded to in the title? My vote is that it is the protagonist, Sybilla. But you’ll have to read the book and decide for yourself.